We recently came across a unique game titled ‘Billionaire Capitalist Tycoon’ that was launched on iOS platform and got in touch with the developers of this fun game. Here is our interview with Alegrium where we get an in-depth glimpse at this game and some interesting aspects of game development:
Tell us a bit about your game and what was it that inspired you to make this game?
Originally, we were planning to make mafia-themed simulation game. Some intriguing concepts and game mechanics had been gathered back then. Just about when we’re ready to kick it off, we looked at our CEO, Stefan, who rubbed his phone screen crazily during lunch time. He was playing a game titled “Make It Rain”. Out of curiosity, everyone in the team downloaded the game. It was… So simple, yet so good! We’re all taken aback by surprise. It provoked a discussion between us: how come a simple game mechanic and repetitive content could make us crave more and more?
At the same time, we realized that you can find fun and happiness everywhere, including within simple games like this. This random discussion then evolved into the embryo of Billionaire that we know today. Billionaire is a manifestation of mafia-themed simulation game mechanics we’ve planned during that time, intertwined with some basic game elements from “Make It Rain”.
Naming a game is almost always one of the most difficult tasks since that’s what people identify it with. Was this name the first choice for the name? If not then what were some other options you were looking at?
We considered several title, actually. But we always looked back at “Billionaire”, which later became the official name for the game. It resonates well with how the game is played, the game’s goal, and what our players might be familiar with. In addition, it’s also customizable for keyword optimization efforts. We’ve got a whole package here with “Billionaire”.
The artwork of this game is simply gorgeous. What sort of thought process went behind that?
Since we wanted to let our players experience how to build and own their own businesses, we put more attention on the visualization of each and every business in the game. We wanted our game to be able to convey the sense of scale and details. Alegrium’s trademark was a flat, 2D design just like you might ever see in Icon Pop Quiz series. We tried that too in Billionaire, and it looked like something was off, so we try 3D artworks. That worked best to convey the experience. However, after considering the production time and the human resources, we finally decided to use isometric as the main design language. It works really, really well if I might say!
What was the major challenge in developing this game?
“Billionaire” was our very first idle game (previously, we did a lot of games in puzzle genre), so the biggest challenge back then was to understand how to configure game variables, especially the mathematical calculation, which was (and still is) the main component of idle-incremental genre. It was something we’re less familiar with, so it took awhile to adjust the game design. Moreover, during the first iteration of the game, we used an outdated engine, so it was technically difficult to scale up the product. As a result, lots of ideas had to be left behind because of that limitation…
Any in-game secrets that could be easter eggs for players to discover?
The whole game is made of Easter eggs! It’s an homage of pop culture and full of business references. The artworks and business names are inspired from movies, comics, and games. If you take a look at the Leaderboard, the NPC’s attributes are based on a real-world situation. We use various media outlet as a reference to determines the NPC net worth.
Also, there are lots of secrets in this game, some of them have been solved by players, as you can see in many forums out there. For example, there are some secret businesses that can only be unlocked through a specific sequence. We also throw a seasonal secret prank, such as in April’s Fools’, Halloween, or Christmas.
Will there be any addition or exciting new updates for the game in the near future?
While working on Billionaire was very exciting and provided us with many opportunities, the game’s not our primary focus for now. Currently, we put our time and effort to develop Cash, Inc., as well as another new game! Please look forward to it. 🙂
How much time did it take to get this game developed and what can players expect in updates for this game?
It took 6 to 7 months for the first iteration of BIllionaire. After the game was released, we involved our players to pitch in ideas which we later made into reality! It was a great experience, looking at how our players actively sending us ideas for the game’s improvement. It brought us much joy to see how our players really cared for the game.
Aside from qualitative research, we also analyze the player’s behavior and their progress in the game as our foundation for metagame-balancing, performance improvement, and bug fixing. In short, the development process is divided into 4 stages: research, ideation, implementation, and evaluation.
Every variables were considered during the process of building iteration calendar. We always make sure that every version update will bring better, improved gaming experience.
What are your future plans as a game developer?
We wish to keep learning and growing: exploring various perspective, both from the concept perspective, technical perspective, and business strategy. Of course, we always strive to make games that people will enjoy and love. In summary, we want to make more and better games!
How long have you been developing games and what is the most enjoyable aspect of game development according to you?
Alegrium was founded in 2010, so it has been almost 10 years… The most enjoyable part is the industry itself. It’s constantly evolving, there’s always a new thing and challenge in creating a better and enjoyable game, both from technical and creative perspective. This enables us to explore interesting things throughout our lives as game developers. At the very core, game is the most fun interactive medium to deliver ideas and creativity. Everything about it screams fun!
How many people worked on the development of this game and any interesting dev stories?
During the first iteration of Billionaire, there were only 6 people as the core team member. Even the idea of the game itself bloom during our lunchtime. What makes it fun was how every member can pitch in their ideas, especially about what business we should make at that time.
While it was only a small number of us, lots of fascinating stories flooded on our behalf from our players, one of them is a heart-warming email we received during a beautiful summer day. It was from a veteran who live alone after his wife and children passed away due to a tragic incident. One day, his friend invited him to play Billionaire and since then, he spent lots of time playing Billionaire, to reconnect with his friend, to ease his loneliness, and more…
Another one was from a teacher who sent us a video message where he used Billionaire as a medium to teach his students the basic business principle. It was so encouraging when everyone on the video said thank you to us for making Billionaire.
We make games to share our happiness and excitement when developing the game. When the games actually make impact, no matter how small it is, we are beyond grateful.
What are your personal favourite games?
Let’s see… Everyone in our team has his/her own favourite(s). For me, it is Xenogears in Playstation.
Any message for our readers?
Hello! Greetings from Indonesia! Alegrium is currently developing several great games (in our own opinion, which soon might be your own), and one of them is Cash, Inc.! This is the brother of Billionaire, which goal is to be the richest, most famous tycoon ever. Build your own empire by hiring superstars and let them work for you (now who’s the star, huh?). Just make sure to come back once in a while to take your money and expand your empire. If you love idle incremental games, please give it a try! Download the game from the AppStore and PlayStore and don’t forget to join our community on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to hear your ideas to develop next big things. Thanks a ton!